Saturday, October 15, 2016
Purple Spirit Day
Today, October 15, 2016, is Spirit Day. Wear purple to raise awareness of GLBT suicide as a result of bullying!
Spirit Day was first observed on October 20, 2010, as a result of Canadian teenager (then) Brittany McMillan's social media campaign to raise awareness of GLBT suicide as a result of homophobic bullying. The major catalyst that inspired Ms. McMillan's efforts was the suicide of New Jersey university student Tyler Clementi. Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation (GLAAD) learned of the grass-roots movement and became actively involved in early October, 2010.
Purple is the color that people are encouraged to wear on Spirit Day. It was selected because purple is one of the colors on the rainbow flag and it represents "spirit." Supporters of Spirit Day often distribute purple awareness ribbons for others to wear to signify their concern over anti-GLBT bullying.
Since the first Spirit Day commemoration on October 20, 2010, the date is now set for October 15, annually. Many secondary schools and universities now host events to make people aware of the harm that bullies pose to their peers and others.
In addition to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, another real-life drama unfolded just before the first observance of Spirit Day in 2010, that also contributed to the international and national attention focused on the initial campaign initiated by Ms. McMillan. Clint McCance, then vice-chairman of the Midlands County, Arkansas, school board, upon learning of the then-upcoming Spirit Day, took it upon himself to post inflammatory and homophobic remarks on the school district's Facebook site. A major controversy ensued and McCance was interviewed on CNN television and radio where he then offered a very weak "apology." His recanting was perceived by both media and the public as an insincere "non-apology" and on November 1, 2010, McCance was forced to resign from his school board position.
Ironically, McCance's degrading and insulting efforts towards combating the very first Spirit Day had the very opposite results he had hoped. More than 1.5 million Facebook users followed Brittany McMillan's site.
Ms. McMillan's extraordinary campaign to end anti-GLBT bullying remains a shining testament to the enormous influence that one person has in initiating change in our modern world. Her efforts in fighting homophobia and bullying, which were often thought to be a permanent fixture of contemporary society, have not only increased awareness of these issues but also have achieved a measure of success in stopping bullying in general and anti-GLBT bullying in particular.
Author's Note: For those who are able to be completely bare today, use body paint and create a purple awareness ribbon on your chest, back and/or buttocks.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Bare With Pride